Ehrlich OKs Sunday deer hunting bill

April 23, 2003|by LAURA ERNDE

For the first time in Maryland history, hunters will be allowed to shoot deer on Sunday.

Gov. Robert Ehrlich signed a bill Tuesday to allow deer hunting on the first Sunday of bow season and the first Sunday of firearms season, but only on private lands in rural counties.

Sunday hunting will be permitted in Washington, Allegany and Garrett counties.

Ironically, a statewide hunting group led by a Washington County resident did not support the legislation.

"I think it's nothing more than feel-good politics," said Steve Palmer of the Maryland Coalition for Responsible Wildlife Management.

Although it was proposed as a way to control the overpopulation of deer, the law won't apply in the metropolitan-area counties that have the worst problem, he said.

The coalition chose not to support the Sunday hunting bill because it is so controversial with people who like to hike, bike, ride horses and watch birds in the woods during hunting season.


Despite having a new governor who is more sympathetic to sportsmen, Palmer said it is still open season on hunters in Maryland.

"I think the whole sport of hunting and fishing is seriously endangered," he said.

In addition to the Sunday hunting bill, Ehrlich signed 146 other bills. Among them were four local bills that will:

  • Increase the cost of Washington County liquor pouring licenses at larger establishments by $250 each.

  • Exempt Washington County from having to advertise when it wants to lease property to tenants for less than $2,000 per month.

  • Clarify the duties of the Washington County Animal Control Authority.

  • Allow campgrounds to be charged Washington County's 6 percent hotel-motel tax.

Sen. Alex X. Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington, got his first two bills signed in five years.

One will give some taxpayers more time to claim state tax refunds and the other broadens military service credit time for Maryland National Guard members who are part of the state retirement system.

Former Democratic Gov. Parris Glendening had vetoed the bills, citing a policy decision. Mooney said the action was partisan.

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